Seeking adventurous water lovers for a challenge!

Lifeboats News Release

Join TV’s Lorraine Kelly on an exciting rowing challenge and paddle a beautiful stretch of the Thames to raise funds for charity. Throughout the weekend of 23 and 24 April the ‘Row the Atlantic on the Thames’ needs 500 paddlers to share the 3,241 mile distance – equivalent to crossing the Atlantic.

Are you a fan of getting afloat on a kayak or a canoe?

Every year, the world-renowned Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge inspires people from all around the globe to test their courage and endurance. Seen as a one-of-a-kind expedition, people row thousands of miles across the Atlantic Ocean.

This is the first time that the challenge has been replicated inland and the Longridge Activity Centre will host 500 participants who want to complete the 6.5-mile journey across the river. But rather than facing the high waves and strong winds of the ocean, the paddlers will test their endurance and have fun in the safe hands of Longridge experts and the RNLI.

‘Row the Atlantic on the Thames’ is an all-ability event open for beginners and pro water sports enthusiasts alike. The sessions are also suitable for youngsters above the age of five who can enter in double canoes under the supervision of a responsible adult. All they need is basic fitness and to be confident swimmers. Inexperienced participants can receive two hours of training from coaches at the Longridge Activity Centre for a small fee.

As a big supporter of the RNLI and the challenge, morning show TV presenter Lorraine Kelly will be there on Saturday at 10am, cheering the boats on their way:

' ‘Row the Atlantic on the Thames’ is a fabulous way for people to get involved in something that will be loads of fun and to do some real good by fundraising for two great charities - the RNLI and Longridge. And you only have to do 6.5 miles! I am looking forward to being there on 23 April to see the boats away.’

All entrants will have to complete two laps of a figure of eight course on the non-tidal Thames.

The event is in aid of both Longridge and the RNLI to promote, educate and provide support and safety on the water. In 2021, there were 205 casualties rescued around the coast after getting in trouble while kayaking or canoeing, of which almost a fifth were in the South East.

Claire Cardwell, RNLI Fundraising and Partnerships Lead for the South East, said:

'The RNLI is extremely grateful to everyone at Longridge for choosing our charity as a beneficiary of the wonderful event this spring, and for everyone helping us row the equivalent of the Atlantic together!

Keeping a modern fleet of lifeboats ever ready to go to the rescue from our lifeboat stations on the Thames and the coast is an expensive business. Then there is crew training, running a lifeguard service on more than 248 popular beaches, and campaigning to prevent drowning through our water safety messaging.

That is why support and donations from everyone involved in this event are vital, so, a huge thank you to all those involved!'

‘Row the Atlantic on the Thames’ has a £25 entry fee to cover the use of boats, paddles and buoyancy aids where required. In addition, £10 is payable for a compulsory competency course for inexperienced paddlers only. The target of fundraising is to raise £100 per team in sponsorship.

There are ambitions for ‘Row the Atlantic on the Thames’ to become an annual event to help raise safety awareness on the inland Thames as well as generate essential funds.

Michael Prager, Chairman for the RNLI South Bucks and Thames fundraising branch, said:

'As a local fundraising RNLI branch, we do lots of work to teach young people how to enjoy the water and be safe on the inland Thames. Working with Longridge Activity Centre on the ‘Row the Atlantic’ initiative has been a great fit considering their efforts in providing exciting water sports activities to young people in a secure environment. Together, we made sure the plans were as safe as possible for those who would participate in the challenge.

There is still time to sign up for the event if kayaking or canoeing on the river is something you would like to do. We need 500 people to cover the 3,241 miles distance, but we won’t be accepting sign ups on the day so please register ahead of the date if you’d like to be involved. You don't need any special kit; Longridge will provide it with all. Just visit Longridge website to reserve your place.'

Anyone looking to enjoy a fun day to support a worthy cause is encouraged to sign up for the event at https://longridge.cinolla.com/longridge/courses/row-the-atlantic-on-the-thames and book their preferred time from the two-hours slots available (between 10am Saturday 23 April and 3pm Sunday 24 April 2022).

Participants who want to book training to gain the necessary skill level to complete the course safely can also use the event address.

To support the challenge, please get in touch with Michael Prager, Chairman for the RNLI South Bucks and Thames fundraising branch, on 07769 932871 or email [email protected]


Notes to editors

· A video of Lorraine Kelly speaking about the event can be found at: https://source.rnli.org.uk/m/26904e385fa1fffa/5B2DEAE4-Lorraine-Kelly-promoting-the-Row-the-Atlantic...

· Longridge Activity Centre is a charity run outdoor adventure centre that provides the opportunity for 80,000 young people to take part in activities and experience the magic of the Thames and its beautiful surrounds: https://www.longridge.org.uk/

· Information about the event is at: https://www.longridge.org.uk/row-the-atlantic/


RNLI media contacts

For more information, please contact Julie Rainey, RNLI South East Regional Media Officer, on 07827 358256 or email [email protected] or Paul Dunt, RNLI South East Regional Media Officer, on 0778 5296252 or email [email protected] Alternatively, please call the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336 789 or email [email protected].

RNLI online

For more information, please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the RNLI News Centre.

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.
Kayaks and canoes on the river Thames at the Longridge Activity Centre

Longridge Activity Centre

Row the Atlantic (on the Thames)

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.